The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O qui tuo Dux martyrum

St. Stephen's Day from the Paris Breviary, 1736
See: Hymns to St Stephen

Words:  Jean Baptiste De Santeuil, "Victorinus Santolius," 1630—1697.
Of the Gallican Church. Canon of St. Victor, Paris.

Source:  Robert Maude Moorson, A historical companion to Hymns ancient and modern: containing the Greek and Latin; the German, Italian, French, Danish and Welsh hymns; the first lines of the English hymns; the names of all authors and translators; notes and dates (Parker and Co., 1889), pp. 212-213.

O qui tuo, Dux martyrum,
Preefers coronam nomine,
Non de caducis floribus
Tibi coronam nectimus.

Tuo cruenta sanguine
Quam saxa fulgent pulchrius 1
Aptata sacro vertici
Non sic micarent sidera.

Quot facta fronti vulnera,
Tot tela lucis emicant;
Et Angelo monstrat parem
Quod prodlt e vultu jubar.

Tu prima Christo victima,
Vitam rependis victima,
Primusque testis aemulo
Deum fateris funere.

Tu primus ostensam tibi
Maris rubri sulcas viam;
Quot te sequentur martyrum
Quibus praeis exercitus!

Qui natus es de Virgine
Jesu ! Tibi sit gloria,
Cum Patre, cumque Spiritu,
In sempiterna saecula.


Louis Coutier Biggs, in his English Hymnology (p. 14), wrote:

For S. Stephen's Day we have the translation of Jean Baptiste Santeul's Paris Breviary hymn, O Qui tuo, dux martyrum, given in 'Hymns Ancient and Modern'—

'First of martyrs, thou whose name
Doth thy golden crown proclaim.'

The allusion is here to the meaning of the Greek name Στέφανος a crown. Adam of S. Victor had written similarly in his sequence for S. Stephen's Day :—

'Thou by name a Crown impliest;
Meetly then in pangs thou diest
For the Crown of Righteousness!'

and S. Anatolius appears to have the same idea, which is perhaps glanced at in Heber's hymn for this festival, 'The Son of God goes forth to war.'

Note from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology. Second Revised Edition with New Supplement. (1892, 1907), pp. 846-847.

O qui tuo, dux martyrum. Jean Baptiste de Santeüil. [St. Stephen.] Appeared in the Cluniac Breviary, 1686, p. 176, and in the author's Hymni Sacri et Novi, 1689, p. 55 (ed. 1698, p. 26). In 1736 it was included in the Paris Breviary. It is also in modern French Breviaries, and in Cardinal Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865. Translated as:—

1. Rightful Prince of Martyrs Thou. This was given in I. Williams's Hymns translated from the Parisian Breviary, 1839, p. 58. In his Preface Williams says that this translation was "supplied by a Friend," but who this friend was we have not been able to determine to our satisfaction. The translation is in Common Use in its original form and also altered as:—

(1) Prince of martyrs ! whose own name. This was given in Murray's Hymnal, 1852, and is the 1839 text altered and with another doxology.

(2) First of martyrs ! whose own name. This in the Salisbury Hymnal, 1857, is another arrangement of the 1839 text, but has more in common with Murray than with it.

(3) First of martyrs ! thou whose name Doth thy golden crown, &c. By the compilers of Hymns, Ancient & Modern, based upon the 1839 translation, together with the doxology as in Murray. This is the most popular translation of the hymn.

(4) Prince of Martyrs! Thou Whose Name. This translation in the 1860 Appendix to the Hymnal Noted, and the People's Hymnal is a cento, stanzas i., iii.-v. being Chambers's translation (see below) altered; stanza ii., the 1839 text as above; stanzas vi., vii., added by the editor ; and the doxology from Murray, altered.

(5) Chief of martyrs ! thou whose name. This is given in the Anglican Hymn Book, 1868, as by the editor, the Rev. E. C. Singleton. It is somewhat more musical than the 1839 text; but in other respects it is essentially the same.

(6) First of martyrs! thou whose name, Answers to thy crown, &c. This, in the Hymnary, 1872, is an ingenious and successful cento from most of the foregoing translations.

2. O Captain of the Martyr Host. By E. Caswall, in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, p. 285, and his Hymns & Poems, 1873, p. 189. It is in use in some Roman Catholic hymn-books.

3. O Prince of martyrs! thou whose name. By J. D. Chambers, in his Lauda Syon, 1857, p. 83.

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.

Related Hymns and Carols